Disclaimer: by conversion I mean something that has been transformational not the traditional view of Christian conversion.
Moments of Conversion: Part 1 Called to China
Fall of 2003, first semester at Lubbock Christian University, roommate: Sarah, Midnight, week before spring registration.
Sarah is my best friend. At the time of this conversation she was having rocky times with a boy and I was just not finding my nitch in college. We wanted to find purpose and fulfillment in the things we were doing. We wanted to know what was going to make life "worth it." In conversation somehow she suggested that we take a class by this crazy old marathon running ex-missionary to Kenya professor named Jim. We found that the intro to missions class would fit nicely into our schedules (she was more then willing to drop a math class to take it or something like that). But I'm an extremist and somehow I felt that just deciding to take a class wasn't going to do anything to solve the current states of unfulfillment. So we continued to discuss and then I just laid on my bed starring at the ceiling asking God what he wanted me to do. Then this crazy idea came to me that I wanted to begin praying that God would give me the opportunity to do a short-term assignment in the far East. I was thinking either China or Japan but the catch was that I had never heard of anyone going to either of those places for missions work (so secretly I felt pretty safe in praying for this).
Sarah and I talked a little longer, prayed, and went to sleep. The next day came sooner then we wanted and dragged ourselves across campus to chapel. We sat in the traditional sorority section where we belonged and got ready for a thirty-minute nap. However, my life was about to change. A man named Larry got on the stage and shared a video of Camp China with the student body. I was probably shaking thinking God doesn't intervene this radically. I don't know if I'm comfortable with this. But at the same time I was also totally stoked knowing that God was in control and was sending me to China. Chapel ended soon enough and we walked to our Kinesiology class just talking about how cool it would be to really to "that." After class I rushed to the SUB to talk with Larry and see if I could qualify for the program. In a matter of just a couple weeks I registered, interviewed, told everyone I knew, and had some major discussions with the parents. They were not keen on the idea. Eventually the tough decision was made to accept a possition as a camp counselor in New Mexico that summer (a dream I had since 6th grade) and then my parents agreed not to make any more of my decisions. I was still 17 so they felt they had just one year left to control me even though I no longer lived at home and all they paid for was my health insurance. This was the first compromise I remember making with my parents that has really ended up well. I'm not saying they made the right decision in grounding me to the states but because the final decision was made in regards to our mutual respect and love for each other we grew to respect each others decisions which is now a huge blessing.
Looking back, I really miss the feeling of a sure "calling." What do I mean? I miss knowing where God wants me and what he wants me to be doing. When people ask me if I feel like I am where I'm suppose to be, I don't usually know what to respond. I'm in Wheaton because I chickened out of going long-term in China but I don't think that teaching English is really where I would have been most gifted and effective. When I get where I'm going I'm confident that God will supply where I lack but I also know that I have been blessed with an abundance of gifts and I need to make the most of them and go where I'll be most effective. I still have a heart for China and have been deeply impacted by that experience. But the call is still certain and I'm still going, just not real sure where or when just yet.